NewsCovering Kentucky


Sen. Rand Paul requests waivers allowing unspent COVID-19 funds to help rebuild flooded areas

Posted at 4:29 PM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-09 17:23:53-04

PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Senator Rand Paul wants President Joe Biden and Governor Andy Beshear to issue waivers allowing eastern Kentucky communities to use unspent COVID-19 relief money to make repairs after flash floods devastated the area.

"There’s a lot of money that was dispensed for covid," said Paul at a supply distribution site in Hazard on Tuesday. "So, I’m sending a letter to President Biden today asking him to have a waiver so all communities can use their covid money for disaster relief."

"I think if a disaster has been declared in a county, there should be more freedom for the county to use the money in any way they see fit to get over the disaster," Paul added.

President Joe Biden has already signed off on federal aid for eastern Kentucky. On Monday, he visited impacted communities and promised that the country would help them rebuild.

"We're all Americans," said Biden. "Everybody has an obligation to help. We have the capacity to do this."

The president's trip has also resulted in some criticism for Kentucky's U.S. Senators. Some critics argue that Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul should have made it to eastern Kentucky sooner, before the president.

On Tuesday, the senators made separate stops across the region. President Biden visited on Monday.

However, Paul brushed the criticism off as a political attack.

"People always try to take a tragedy or disaster like this and politicize it. And I think that’s a huge mistake," said Paul. "I’ve been working all weekend in Washington. We were in session for 24 hours over Saturday night. So, it’s not like I’ve been off on a family vacation."

Paul said his team has been on the ground in eastern Kentucky since day one. However, he believes politicians shouldn't visit disaster areas in the early days of relief efforts.

"You really don’t want politicians getting in the way of firefighters, do you? You really want politicians dragging people away from their work? What you really want is to let them do their job," said Paul.